Aussies complete sweep of England in Ashes
By Robert Smith AFP
January 6, 2014, 12:07 am TWN
SYDNEY -- Australia completed a 5-0 Ashes clean sweep against England on Sunday as the tourists crumbled against a formidable pace attack to go down to a humiliating 281-run defeat in the fifth Test.
Mitchell Johnson — described by captain Michael Clarke as one of the modern-day pace greats — was named man-of-the-series for his 37 wickets over the five games at 13.97.
Fellow quick Ryan Harris took man-of-the-match for his eight wickets in the two innings in Sydney, where a hapless England endured their fifth successive heavy defeat.
The demoralized tourists capitulated after tea, losing seven wickets in 52 minutes on their way to being bundled out for 166 in 31.4 overs — nowhere near the 448 victory target.
It was the sixth time the beleaguered tourists had been skittled for under 200 in the 10 innings of the series.
The crushing defeat — with more than two days to spare — is expected to have major ramifications for English cricket just months after they beat Australia 3-0 in England.
Harris finished with five for 25 in the second innings, while Johnson claimed 3-40.
It was the third time Australia had achieved a 5-0 series clean sweep over England, after 1920-21 and 2006-07, and Clarke was also involved in the previous one. The Australians have now climbed to third in the ICC rankings above England and Pakistan.
“Any time you win a Test match is an amazing feeling, but to win 5-0?” Clarke said.
“I think with this current team, the fact that it's been the rollercoaster ride, the start of 2013 didn't go anywhere near as well as we'd have liked, I think that's what feels so satisfying at the moment, that we've been able to turn things around.”
Johnson's spells in the series “certainly match the greats, if not better”, he said.
England's hopes vanished with the cheap dismissals of skipper Alastair Cook (7), Ian Bell (16) and Kevin Pietersen (6) in the middle session as England limped to tea on 87-3.
But the rout turned to carnage after the interval as four wickets tumbled in two overs, with the tourists falling apart against inspired Australian bowling and fielding.